Remnants of HIV/AIDS as a securitized issue linger on despite the development of new drugs and the new and more hopeful discourse of HIV as a virus it is possible to live with. Criminalization of transmission and of non-disclosure (not communicating that you are HIV positive to a sexual partner, even if no transmission occurs) is a much debated practice, often deemed counterproductive and stigmatizing. Despite recommendations from the UNAIDS to remove such legislation, many states are reluctant to do so, and Sweden and the US are at the top of the statistics regarding convictions for non-disclosure (UNAIDS 2013).

Criminalization is in this project studied in a context where welfare states’ capacity to protect its citizens from harm is seen as the fundament of state legitimacy. The analysis draws on feminist and poststructuralist theory. The aim of the project is to analyze and compare the politics of contagious disease control and the criminalization of transmission and non-disclosure of HIV/AIDS in the US and Sweden during the last 15 years. How and what narratives of (in)security calls for and legitimizes these measures? Has these narratives changed over time, if so how? What categories and power structures are reproduced within these narratives?

Contact person: Maria Jansson